Granting contributor status for abandoned community courses

Hi all,

I wanted to give an update on the issue of abandoned courses and how we plan to help with that.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the term abandoned courses - they are community courses that are being used by other users where the course creator has stopped using Memrise/Decks. As a result the course has been ‘abandoned’ and isn’t being fixed or updated over time.

We know this is a pain point for some of you, so we’re going to trial reviewing and granting selected users contributor status for abandoned community courses on a monthly basis. Contributor status allows a user to make certain edits to a course, which you can see an overview of here

How will the review and granting process work?

  • We have created a section within Decks Bugs and Feedback where you can start a thread if you want to become a contributor for an abandoned course
  • Before you post on that thread, you should try to contact the creator of a course that you think is abandoned. You can do that by searching for the course author in the forum, and if they are in the forum, starting a thread with them in the relevant course category
  • The course creator is free to decline your request
  • If the course creator is either not on the forum or doesn’t reply to you within a week, you can then request contributor status.
  • Please start a thread here and include
    • The name of the course
    • A link to the course
    • A link to the thread where you have already reached out to the course creator, if applicable
    • A couple of sentences on why you want to be a contributor
  • We’ll review requests at the end of each month
  • If we see that a course creator has been active on Memrise in the past month, we’ll decline the request since we don’t consider the course to be abandoned
  • We’ll grant contributor status to users who registered on Memrise/Decks at least 6 months ago and have been active in that time. This is in order to reduce the likelihood of courses being broken by contributors
  • We reserve the right to grant and revoke course contributors at our discretion

Let me know how that sounds!

We’re planning to do this for the next few months and see how it goes. So first round will be at the end of May.

Some of you have also requested increasing the permissions of contributors. This isn’t on our roadmap at the moment, but if that changes I’ll let you know.

Thanks

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Could you fix the link or make the respective thread public (as it seems private)? It just returns an error message “Sorry, you don’t have access to that topic!”.

Thanks, that does sound good! :nerd_face:

That’s rather sad as there’s no way to add, edit or change i. e. columns. But every little bit helps!

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Cheers @Olaf.Rabbachin. That thread should now be open

We have updated the link - it should now redirect to the correct page :slight_smile:

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That doesn’t sound very helpful or responsive to users who are ready, willing and able to fix problems in an abandoned course right now. These generous and motivated users are willing to provide free labor to enhance Memrise’s product, yet you want them to queue up and wait up to a month to get a reply?

Why does everyone who works at Memrise seem to have a habit of making users jump through unnecessary hoops just to fix the most trivial of issues, then ignore their serious complaints for ages, “refer it to the team”, ask them for “screenshots”, etc., only to give a half-hearted, and unresponsive, and usually unhelpful reply in the end?

@xvg11 The first batch will be at the end of this month (i.e. in two weeks). So anyone who wants to be a course contributor can request it in time for then.

The batching helps us to streamline. If we have to review and approve requests every day it’s disruptive for us and more likely that requests will slip through the cracks.

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There should be a simple way to get in touch with any course creator/contributor instead of beating around the bushes. It would only significantly improve quality of user created courses. A lot of courses are not technically abandoned, but their creators are not presented in the forum.

Possible solutions to this problem:

  1. Make it obligatory to have a forum thread for any public course.

  2. Private messages for course creators accessible only to those who have at least 1 million points and who is a Memrise user for at least three months (in case you are afraid of spam complaints).

  3. Feature for flagging an incorrect translation/typo with a following message to the course creator.

Perhaps, the optimal solution is a mix of these features.

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Thank you. It is important to get this right. Although, technically, Memrise owns the content of user-created courses (if I understand the Ts & Cs correctly), course creators will have spent a lot of time and effort building and improving their courses and, it is therefore important to be sure that a course has definitely been ‘abandoned’ before contributor status is granted to a third party.

I have a couple of points on your proposed process:

While I appreciate that making users responsible for attempting first contact with the course creator would reduce the workload of Memrise staff, it makes the process a bit ‘clunky’. The previous arrangement where a simple request (containing the relevant course details, etc) was made to Memrise, who would then attempt to contact the course creator seems, on the face of it, a much more straightforward process. By complicating it, you run the risk of actually increasing the administrative workload.

Clearly, if the course creator has been active as recently as that, that’s a fair assumption to make. However, I think that during “the past month” is too short a period. ‘Activity’ in the previous three months may be more appropriate.

Please confirm that, in cases where the course creator is not a member of the forum, you will
(as part of the review process) make one attempt to contact them by email (allowing a reasonable period for them to reply) before granting contributor status to an applicant.

Thanks.

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Many thanks for this solution @kevin5284 - much appreciated what you are doing, and I agree with most of your points and safeguards.

Let me know how that sounds!

Here are some thoughts:

A) - If they aren’t on the Forum, there isn’t any other way for a user to make contact, so the creator would not be able to reply.

B) - A week is rather short notice as people often go away on holidays (WiFi free) for two weeks.

C) - If a Creator or Contributor is actively learning (over the last month say) then perhaps the MemRise staff can email them and point out the request.


  • We’ll grant contributor status to users who registered on Memrise/Decks at least 6 months ago and have been active in that time. This is in order to reduce the likelihood of courses being broken by contributors

Ideally all new contributors should have created at least one quality (workable) course as a testing ground to avoid messing up a course that many others are benefiting from.


  • We’ll review requests at the end of each month

I agree with another post that weekly or fortnightly might be more appreciated.


  • If we see that a course creator has been active on Memrise in the past month, we’ll decline the request since we don’t consider the course to be abandoned

Although I agree with this point (that the course is not abandoned) if the creator or contributor is not active in the Forum would you be able to contact them with the request as they might appreciate some support?
(I share contributor rights with another person and I am grateful to them for what they bring to the courses.)

Cc @kevin5284 & @MemriseMatty

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I understand that batching requests helps you streamline the process, but you are presenting a false dichotomy between once a month and every day. There are other convenient time intervals, such as once a week, which I think would be more responsive, and I don’t think it would be unduly burdensome for your employees, because I don’t see there being too many new requests to be made a course contributor every week, perhaps one or two, on average.

And regarding the ability to contact creators through the forum, I am wondering if a user’s name on the forum is always the same as their user name on the decks or main memrise site? I seem to recall seeing posts by users in the forum, but finding no profile for them on the main Memrise site, which leads me to think that they could be using different names on each site. Could you or someone else familiar with that aspect of the system please comment on that?

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this thing with granting contributor status to almost anyone requiring it might make some course creators such as myself to put all their courses on “private”… i would never ever grant such status to someone who comes forward with “my wife/google says”, or such stuff…

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I see your point but I don’t think this will be a problem as a “forced contributor addition” would only relate to course creators who:

  1. have no forum account and can thus not be contacted by other users
  2. do not respond to forum messages (provided there is an account)
  3. do not respond to emails sent forth by Memrise staff within manageable time

Unless any of the above is true a course (resp. its creator) must not be considered abandoned.

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I’d like to bring up something else that would IMHO help to really simplify things for both Memrise and all users: the possibility to provide a single sign on for the forums. I’ve already pointed this a while ago out in this post but never received a response.

Let me elaborate: every Memrise user has their own account (user/password). Presently, the same applies to the Memrise forum. However, the two accounts are not linked by any means. The software that Memrise uses for the forum is Discourse. Since it seems to be very common to use Discourse a companion forum to software products, the creators have come up with a means to “carry over” an external authorization slash login (such as the Memrise account) to the forum (i. e. the Discourse account), meaning you can always access the forum while you’re logged in with your Memrise account.
Which in turn means that each user would automatically have their own forum account. All other features (such as the users’ forum homepage, etc.) remain exactly the same.

@kevin5284, @Joshua, @MemriseOwen, @MemriseMatty, @MemriseSupport (sorry for the extensive tagging, I’d like to reach the right or at least one person!): would you consider seeing into SSO for Memrise/Discourse?
It’s actually a pretty simple and straight-forward process. There’s a good explanation here.

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@kevin5284 - I love that you are moving towards a clearly defined, systematic process. IMO, once a month is sane.

I have a concern, however, that this process could lead to disappointing edits of some courses, just because the course doesn’t align with a newer user’s taste. Before granting editing powers, would you consider taking a look at the number of experienced, active, learners of a course. and have some metric where you decide that the course is probably fine the way it is?

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That would take a LOT of time to do properly.

I make my courses in a way that works for me, and at the pace of my own learning, but I list them as public in case they are helpful to other people. Even if I take a 2 year hiatus from Memrise, I don’t want other people to be granted contributor status in my courses whatsoever. I would rather make my courses private if this risk comes to be, but I would rather not privatize my courses because other people are using them. If you can contact a course creator and they give the “go ahead,” fine. If you can’t contact the course creator, find another course to learn from. I don’t think it’s fair to hand the reigns over to other users without the creator’s permission.

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Tricky this - (and I agree with the concern) - given that I support many courses that have been genuinely abandoned (and all attempts to contact the creator failed in the old embedded forum - when we had a direct access to the creator AND one of the MemRise team attempted to contact them as well) and I support other courses with the creator’s invite or approval.

So basically I agree it would be best for a thorough attempt to contact the creator be made but perhaps a contributor could do what I do with one or two creators or even trusted contributors, we have set up a PM thread where we discuss possible changes first.

They should also set up a [Course Forum] stating any significant changes made.

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WHy not just adding a button to contact the creator with email?

I guess that would take a lot of time to set up.

The old system of embedded Forums was the best (and which did send them an email as well).

The other benefit is that anyone can comment (or offer an alternative) and see what changes have been made.

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